Parents could be charged after Virginia boy, 6, used mom’s pistol to shoot teacher Abby Zwerner: Experts
Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion advised.
NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA: A 6-year-old Virginia boy who was taken into police custody for allegedly shooting his first-grade teacher Abigail 'Abby' Zwerner, 25, reportedly used his mom's legally purchased gun. The baby-faced shooter took a .9mm Taurus handgun from home before carrying it to school and discharging it on his educator. Legal experts claim since they cannot possibly charge a 6-year-old for the school shooting, his parents will be held accountable and could face charges if authorities find the weapon the shooter used wasn’t properly secured.
“Ms. Zwerner was providing classroom instruction when the 6-year-old child displayed a firearm, pointed it at her and fired one round. There was no physical struggle or fight. She was providing instruction to her class,” the police chief Steve Drew said. The bullet went through one of Zwerner’s hands and struck her upper chest as she “took a defensive position,” reported New York Post. After Zwerner was shot, the next incident shocked the department. “She turned around to make sure every one of those students was safe,” reportedly around 14 to 16 of them were out of the room, before stumbling her way down the hallway herself to the administrative office and collapsing, Drew said.
Since the child took the weapon from his home, his unidentified parents could face criminal liability, under state law guns must be secured from kids under 14, according to legal experts. "You can’t charge a 6-year-old criminally, that’s pretty well established,” Virginia criminal defense attorney Steve Duckett said. “The test should come down to whether or not appropriate steps were taken to safeguard the weapon." “If they kept [the gun] out in the wide open where anybody could grab it and do something untoward with it, that does expose them potentially to some liability,” reported the source.
Duckett further added the parents may not be charged criminally, “if it was locked in a safe and they were not careless about keeping either the keys or the code to the safe out where anybody could find it and the kid broke in without their knowledge.” Legal analyst Todd Stone said, “The parents could be charged with a misdemeanor, which would be the maximum of 12 months in jail, and realistically, it’s very fact-dependent." The parents could also face charges such as delinquency or neglect of a minor which Stone claimed, "sometimes can be more difficult to prove,”
Zwerner was critically wounded but is now believed to be in serious but stable condition. The boy is currently under a “temporary detention order” and receiving “treatment at a medical facility,” the chief said.